Date: April 13, 2010
To: Sophie Toupin and Rele Participants
From: Anne-christine d’Adesky
Re: Review of preliminary Rele Report – and possible Next Steps
Dear Sophie and Rele:
I have read and re-read the Rele Gender Shadow Report several times to try to digest for myself what it says and how we might address several aspects of the preliminary document. Below are some thoughts and suggestions for how to move forward, and also how to prioritize the many steps outlined in the document.
Content, Editing, harmonizing:
• The current draft models the PDNA Economic Recovery plan for Haiti in it’s focus on mirroring different topics and themes. Since different writers and reviewers developed the various sections, there’s considerable repetition of ‘broad’ themes of the need for gender equality, representation, input, etc.
• Some sections of the document are very ‘broad’ comments about gender and the topic being reviewed – others are very specific to Haiti or to institutions or urgent problems related to the topic.
• The Gender Shadow Report has a very strong focus on gaps, but relatively limited focus on solutions, although these are noted here and there.
• As we have all agreed, this preliminary document was developed in an ad-hoc manner and would benefit from many other eyes, including: Haitian women’s groups, grassroots and ‘peasant’ associations, key sector experts for fine tuning specific recommendations related to gender inclusion.
• The Summary Recommendations do a good job of highlighting broad concerns culled from the Recommendations, but are also a mix of very broad with some specific. Wherever specific, I found that there were often important action items that emerged as a more immediate ‘to do’ than the broader comments.
• The Rele doc does comment broadly on needs of girls re. health, shelter and security, risk of GBV, restavek issue, girls education, but specifics are weak. We need to develop more specific recommendations -- this calls for greater engagement and seeking input from grassroots and NGO Haitian gps working with Youth and on girls empowerment initiatives.. and experts on girls vulnerability and empowerment who work in Haiti or region, and/ or have comparative country experience or models to share..esp from post-disaster countries or experiences and identifying models, solutions.
Comments and Proposal: related to ACTIONS we might take.
I reviewed the document by trying to look at each comment to determine if it reflected an: Immediate, actionable item; medium term step; long term step or reform, or policy. From that emerged the skeleton of an action plan that reflected the most important actionable items. To me, this type of exercise and analysis should be done by an EDITORIAL COMMITTEE in the coming two weeks, in order to really hone done the most important steps to take now, and what steps are to be taken by others that we can support.
In this phase, we should
1) elicit input by Haitian women’s groups and the Ministry of Women’s affairs and ask representatives to mark up the document to inform us about which concrete items they are working on actively or are prepared to play a more active role to help implement.
2) Seek a bit of selective and targeted gender sector expert input related to weaker sections of the document, with greate focus on actionable items.
3) On area the document could be stronger is to examine instruments used to advance gender equialty, and specifically see where they can be implemented. We note many broad tools in the preamble, but specific application of instruments is not always visible in sector discussions.
4) Discuss the question of How to Monitor – what models for creating accountability of the national reconstruction – and where Gender Accountability fits in.
After we have given a period for this review, input, we create a Round Two very streamlined document, and the next task is targeted OUTREACH. We need to present the document to a wide range of stake holders is the NEXT IMMEDIATE STEP. We need to consider WHO presents the document to very high level bodies, as this can help assure it being taken up, and we need to respect protocol.
These include (in very loose order): GOH and PDNA sector authors; US State Dept and USAID key officials; key women’s advocates in US Congress; Canadian and Francophone Caribbean and French Govt, diaspora and NGOs, women's groups working on Haiti issues; representatives of UN agencies working in Haiti, with a focus on top person in charge, and anyone on women’s portfolio; they key UN Cluster sector members; World Bank, IAB, European Commission, CARICOM and Caribbean; key contacts in the Haitian business community (use their umbrella business coalitions to disseminate info); key Haitian NGOs, labor groups; Haitian media.
We should also work to broadly disseminate a press release to:
• the global groups and NGOs active in Haiti, and can target them using the lists provided by USAID and various e-lists we have, and
• key women’s agencies – selecting those working on priority topics: gender mainstreaming, security and economic recovery, including rural agriculture.
After this primary In outreach I'd also add - second tier input and outreach to: more Regional and Latin American gpps esp Brazil, Chile considering role playing in reconstruction, and Japan, China, Israel -- all very involved in Country-led Haiti initiatives. And Russia - E Europe in area related to Energy
FROM GAPS TO ACTION:
During our own review, we might analyse the preliminary document to better assess actions we as Rele might take or participate in, which should be led by Haitian women’s groups with our intl support, which are to be done by Haitian groups, GOH, and other provider agencies, such as surveys and analyses to provide a more clear picture of the current state of a given problem.
This will serve to blueprint a roadmap for our actions related to this report.
Immediate Actions Needed:
The overall focus of the Gender Shadow Report on the lack of, or inadequate focus upon, women’s participation, role, impact upon, needs and agency in the Haitian reconstruction effort is so consistent in this document that it really suggested a few actions to me:
Representation & Advocacy:
1) Needed: A Gender Advisory body to the PDNA process that pushes for ‘gender responsiveness’ and gender equality in: the overall national plan; in all public institutions; in multidonor projects; in large work projects; in recruitement and hiring and training. This group would both PROMOTE and MONITOR gender progress.
2) Need for a clear public, open consultative process for local women and grassroots groups to provide input, and engage with key stakeholders implementing the PDNA locally or regionally.
3) Development of National Guidelines on Gender with a ‘how to’ aspect that calls for implementation of gender mainstreaming as noted in pt. 1. What’s evident from the current overall gap of gender focus is that those developing the PDNA may not have the background or specific knowledge of was and best practice models of concretely how to start implementing gender responsive projects, policies, programs.
4) Need to better define and call for Minimum Quotas of representation of women – particularly gender advocates - in the decision making bodies to PDNA, multidonor bodies, UN agencies, and newer bodies such as Tent City lay committees, and Disaster Preparedness Committees.
5) Point No. 3 calls for creation of an accessible online ‘gender mainstreaming data base of field models and best practices focused on implementation ’ – some repository of best practice models with simplified information in French or Kreyol, with a particular focus on making visible existing Haitian and grassroots and women-developed and field-tested ‘best practices’ or models that have been successfully used to promote women’s inclusion
6) A priority focus on two areas that greatly impact on women NOW and could benefit them NOW: security and economic recovery.
Immediate actions we might take – first steps of a roadmap:
1) Co-Host a few forums to present the nascent report, and invite engagement in the document and future participation by Haitian women, women’s reps.
2) Focus these forums on Concrete actions and proposals to implement Gender Mainstreaming, use of minimum quotes and guidelines, diff possibilities.
3) Help develop and participate in a Gender Advisory Body – possibly acting as international allies to inform that body and help address challenges of implementation.
4) Research /Identify and make available a list of key women or gender advocates in the different bodies that are stakeholders, and determine who can talk to them about the report.
Look at the above points 1-6 to determine which actions we want to participate in.
2nd set of Actions To Take – (initial pieces of our Strategic Plan):
As part of a Gender Advocacy initiative, we push for women’s inclusion in key decision bodies including:
1) In consultation with women leaders in Haiti, and key stakeholders, determine what type of representation and expertise needed for a Gender Mainstreaming Advisory body to the PDNA, and how it would be linked to women’s groups, grassroots groups for regular input, feedback
2) Push GOH and key stakeholders to work in partnership with this independent advisory body to help implement recommendations and overall gender mainstreaming, gender guidelines, and do problem solving on challenges of gender mainstreaming, bringing in gender experts to help.
3) Push for IMMEDIATE inclusion of a representative woman and Gender Advocate on Points in (Point a of Summary Recommendations):Intermediary Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (CIRH), (b)Council of the Authority for the Development of Haiti, Consultative Committee of the Council, and also on d(c) diff PDNA sector planning bodies and (elsewhere in document): all public institutions, newly created planning or decision-making bodies on reconstruction
4) Work with the Haitian Ministry of Women, and PDNA authors to identify and establish MINIMUM Guidelines – using Quotas – to recruit, train, hire women to participate in key bodies, public institutions, newly created institutions like Institute of Administration. Work to identify HOW TO IMPLEMENT – create actionable items – the guidelines in key or priority actions and areas.
The Gender Shadow Report repeatedly noted concerns and recommendations in three sectors that represented the greatest urgency in terms of helping women cope now, address coming natural disasters, and begin to recover: They are:
1) SECURITYincluding actions related to GBV: this issue was deemed critical by many authors, across sectors and invites a Gender Analysis of Security, research to determine what has been done, by what groups – to identify key actors on the ground, review the demands by women’s groups – and from there, create an action plan for ourselves that responds to our role as intl allies.
2) SHELTER – which is linked to the issue above (security and protection against GBV)
3) Economic Recovery: Women need WORK, access to credit as small entrepreneurs, as women farmer, as timarchann,and they need access to seeds, equipment to carry out etc. In this area, several possible actions were suggested or could be initiated, at a large scale, to provide immediate employment and support for women’s participation in current or coming areas of reconstruction. They include
a. EXPAND Cash for Work and Large Work projects to include:
i. Childcare and teaching in camps – with target employment goals;
ii. Working on disaster preparedness incl. participation in local disaster preparedness committees, disaster monitoring, community outreach – all areas that support women’s participation…
iii. As well as Affirmative Action approach to inclusion of women in harder labor Cash for Work programs in not-traditional areas such as road and debris clearance, drainage clearance, construction, etc.
iv. As midwives and birth attendants – health promotion
v. As counselors, helping to work with support groups re psychosocial support for Haitians
A number of areas of concern would benefit from focused Study or Report to provide an updated picture, information, data and analysis of the Gender Dimension. From this, one may consider appropriate actions related to gender mainstreaming and which parties might be brought together to carry them out.
They include need for a study/report:
• Women and Migration (update on resettlement of women, needs)
• Women and Land /Housing(this addresses update, women’s ownership/lack of in land, building)
• And a close look at recent documents on:
o Women and Security
Another area that needs consolidation of different surveys /analyses is:
• Women and Health: a well-organized report on diff aspects, groups (maternal, newly disabled, rural, etc.)
• Women and Finance/access to funding – current state of microfunding – etc to help women entrepreneurs.. so this could be under a Women and Economic Recovery study, or spotlighted to focus on the issues of credit, access to funding, current or new initiatives related to financial support for women and girls, women business leaders in private sector, etc.
Future studies or short reports that build on the sector focus in the Gender Shadow Report could spotlight the current picture related to:
• Women and Governance
• Other important sectors where many women are engaged like Agriculture, Fisheries, etc… and how they have been impacted re women’s needs, participation.
Gender advocates could benefit from a review or comment on recent or emerging documents by key First Responder agencies to determine where actionable items overlap with any recommendations in the report.
ACCOUNTABILITY: It’s clear that such a massive reconstruction project calls for overall mapping and monitoring of the gender response and responsiveness. Beyond Guidelines for implementing Gender Mainstreaming, there also need to be INDICATORS and MARKERS to monitor progress or efforts, and consideration on how to SUPPORT groups to improve on gaps.
Here, the experience within Haiti and at the grassroots will help identify what has already been done effectively in Haiti to be built upon. But the experience and models from OUTSIDE COUNTRIES, particularly those in post-disaster situatios, could be very valuable.
STEP: A key step here is to gather and centralize best-practice, something that groups like UNDP’s Women’s Unit and UNIFEM and the Haitian Women’s Ministry are doing or are well-positioned to do. An alliance with key stakeholders who have the resources and access to technical experts to offer training in implementation of gender best practice is another STEP that the Rele group could help to advocate and make happen.
The outreach to gather this experience at the grassroots is something that Haitian women’s and grassroots groups are also best poised to do. One step to help them may be to create a reporting database or project archive that solicits this information and experience from grassroots actors in Haiti.
The next step would be promotion of this information so it can inform and benefit stakeholders including Haitian groups in the field who are being pushed to implement gender responsive programming and approaches from the higest to the most grassroots level and across the entire spectrum of reconstruction.
Haitian Women’s Groups: There are a number of key areas where Haitian women groups are best poised to lead action on key recommendations, and also some where international solidarity has an important tole. By eliciting the view of these groups NOW to the existing report, and convening future discussions on key areas of possible action or joint action or solidarity action, these different and complementary roles and activities can be clarified so that priority actions are being taken that promote the natural leadership role of Haitian women, and that promote and benefit from the international solidarity that can be provided, too.
SUGGESTIONS FOR RELE PARTICIPANTS TO TAKE NOW:
A number of key steps are needed to move the report and its possible use a tool forward. The very first is for Rele participants to communicate and determine IF and WHAT Rele is as a body or initiative. My own view is that RELE took form as an editorial report collective to create a Gender Shadow Report , and could remain an Editorial Report group. It could expand to invite participation, and it could function to create mini-editorial focus groups on key target areas. It could evolve to act as an advocacy advisory body to a Formal Gender Advisory committee to the PDNA which will likely and should include Haitians and diaspora Haitians, primarily.
If RELE exists or expandsin the future, its relationship to other groups and individual members who work in other groups or coalitions, including Poto Mitan: Rebuilding Haiti (just being renamed as Poto Fanm + Fi) should be clarified. This could be done via a public document that lists the strict mission of Rele and the nature of participation in the Gender Shadow Report work.
From there, the challenges to developing and doing outreach for the report would need to address the resources, strengths and gaps in the editorial group. One area of problem solving would need to be: the process for input from the ground in Haiti, and women’s groups there; and translation challenges: how, funding, etc; and a possible Steering Committee or Co-Coordination of the Gender Shadow Report work that includes a Haitian representative, and also helps balance the big job that fell on too few people in the ultrarapid creation of the preliminary document and the review by outside independent reviewers.
Please note that I have not included here the Mediume and Long Term possible steps and recommendations.. such as legal reform, etc.... and consider this work something that should happen after the Input of the Haitian women's groups and a few key sector experts focused on implementation. From this a Stategic Action Plan for the Rele editorial group (if it continues as Rele), and the role of other groups, including those members of Potofanm + Fi can be clarified and strengthened.
That includes areas such as legal and policy reform, and even nomintion of a Special Rapporteur, etc.. but here again, these are all steps that in my mind would be taken AFTER input from Haitian women's groups and a few other outside expert eyes and collectively, as a step to fine tuning the report into a Rele Action Plan.
I'll collate these tweaks and the missing section on medium and long term steps
from Report into a single document for you later Sophie